Nelson played their final home game of the season as they entertained fifth placed team Church at Seedhill on Sunday, but it was not a happy ending for the locals.
Nelson won the toss and batted but a below par batting display meant the bowlers did not have a big enough total to defend.
Chris Heap and Russell Bradley opened the innings and, immediately after hitting his first ball for four, Bradley was lbw next ball.
Most batsmen made decent starts and reached double figures but none fully mastered the spin twins Afaq Ali Sartaj and professional Usman Tariq. Heap top edged a delivery from Sartaj and was caught for 12; Harrison Phelan was bowled by Tariq for 19 and sub pro Ryan Canning was caught behind off Tariq for 16.
Neil Thompson also made it into double figures – 11 – but he was then lbw to Sartaj, putting Nelson on 75-6.
Khurrum Nazir (6) and Uzair Khalid (0) both fell to Tariq and Nelson still only had 82 on the board.
The best stand of the innings followed with Michael Bradley and Sam Halstead, in particular, in aggressive mood.
Bradley made 16 but was not quick enough to complete a second run and was run out after the pair had added 35 for the eighth wicket.
Halstead went on to make his highest score of the season – 23 – before he was caught at long on.
Tariq polished off the tail quickly, finishing with figures of 6-34 as Nelson were all out on the last ball of their 50 overs for 127.
Skipper Thompson was keen to attack Church with spin and used Phelan as an opening partner for Halstead. Church opened their batting with the pro Tariq, and Sam Holt and Tariq was determined to force the pace.
He hit six fours in the first six overs but had the fortune to survive a chance given to Canning in the covers when on only 8.
Canning redeemed himself, however, when he caught Tariq at square leg for 26.
Canning redeemed himself even further when a throw from deepish midon hit the stumps direct to run out Holt for 5.
More spin was tried as Nazir and Khalid joined the attack.
Both gained wickets as Bilal Abbas was lbw to Nazir for 10 and Levi Wolfenden was lbw to Khalid for 26 but Church passed the 100 mark with only four wickets down.
A minicollapse gave Nelson some hope as Josh Scully was bowled by a returning Halstead for 8, Thompson trapped Jack Gaskill in front for 2 and Nazir had Joel Gaskill caught for 8.
Church’s skipper Craig Fergusson held firm, however, and was still at the crease on 25 not out when Sartaj edged Nazir for 4 to win the match.
Nelson complete their disappointing season with a trip to highflying Ramsbottom on Sunday.
Ramsbottom need 10 more points to be assured of gaining the Holland Cup for being runners-up.